BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich laid the template last season, and Borussia Dortmund wants to follow it this season.
When Bayern fired Niko Kovač last year after 10 league matches, his replacement was an assistant coach that led the team to a Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble.
Dortmund fired Lucien Favre on Sunday after a 5-1 loss to Stuttgart in the 11th round the day before. His replacement, assistant coach Edin Terzić, will get his first chance to put the team on the right track on Tuesday against Werder Bremen.
“It’s an unbelievable situation. I was produced by this club,” Terzić said Monday, recalling his first visit to the team’s stadium when he was 9 years old. “It was clear then for whom my heart was beating. I never dared dreaming of becoming head coach.”
Terzić has a good reputation from his work as Favre’s assistant since 2018. The 38-year-old Terzić was a Dortmund youth coach and scout from 2010-13, reporting to then-coach Jürgen Klopp, and he later worked as an assistant to Slaven Bilić during the Croat’s stints as coach of Turkish team Beşiktaş and Premier League club West Ham.
“We’ve gotten to know him as a proven expert who has a great feeling for working with the guys and who also brings the emotion that Borussia Dortmund always needs on the day,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said.
Dortmund has gone three matches without a victory and is already six points behind surprise league leader Bayer Leverkusen.
Under Favre, Dortmund routinely fell short when challenging Bayern in the Bundesliga. The team squandered a nine-point lead in 2018-19, then finished runner-up again last season — 13 points behind Bayern after another poor finish.
Dortmund could only win the less-important German Super Cup — traditionally a ceremonial curtain raiser for the season — under Favre in 2019.
Terzić brings a very different coaching style.
“To sum it up quickly, I’m always in favor of scoring one more goal than the opposition,” he joked.
Favre sometimes faced criticism for not responding quickly when changes were needed during a game. His quiet manner also gave the impression he was somehow aloof to what was happening on the field.
Terzić is more directly involved. He favors an aggressive game from his team, pressuring opponents into losing possession, closing down space and combining quickly to open opposing defenses.
“You have to fill a certain role as a coach and emotion is part of that,” Terzić said. “I spoke with the team yesterday. It was important that they already identified issues that need to be worked on.”
Dortmund has a plethora of attacking talent like Marco Reus, Erling Haaland, Thorgan Hazard, Jadon Sancho, Julian Brandt, Gio Reyna and Youssoufa Moukoko, who only became eligible to join the team in November when he turned 16.
Only Reyna impressed against Stuttgart, however. Haaland is injured and out until at least January, and the others appear to be struggling with confidence.
“The loss on Saturday was painful. But now we have to move on, and quickly,” Terzić said. “We also saw a lot of positive things lately. We have to have the belief to bring them back and show them again.”
Terzić won’t have much time to settle into his new role. After Tuesday’s trip to Bremen, Dortmund visits Union Berlin — which held Bayern to a 1-1 draw on Saturday — before a trip to face Eintracht Braunschweig in the German Cup on Dec. 22.
Terzić will also be judged on his success in the Champions League, where Dortmund was drawn to face Sevilla in the last 16. Those games are scheduled for Feb. 17 and March 3.
“We’re happy with the task but there are still a lot of other issues to keep us busy before then,” Terzić said of the draw.
Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Marco Rose is reportedly a candidate to take over next season.
“The contract with Edin lasts until summer 2021 for now,” Zorc said. “That’s a long way, at least 26 competitive games. The main focus is on the here and now, to get the team back on the right path.”
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